The Rise of Online Learning

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Technology has opened up vast and diverse worlds of education, and nowadays, there’s virtually nothing that you can’t learn online.  From neuroscience to how to carve a jack o’lantern, if you google it, you’ll find out how and learn about it.  Online learning has become a lot more than feeding personal interests and gaining fun, practical skills.  It has become a serious source of education for a wide variety of learners wanting to build or improve specific skills. 

Richard Rayne, CEO of iLearn, a leading South African learning solutions company, points out that global workplaces have an increasing demand for employees who are intrepid learners.

At the same time, today’s employees have a great urge to develop more fulfilling careers which is driving them to become life-long learners.  More and more people are taking charge of their professional development, and online learning is a key way for them to specifically tailor their education to achieve important personal and professional goals.

The rise of online learning is testimony to the maturing of the skills development industry. Many of the world’s most prestigious universities are now offering online courses and blended learning initiatives to meet the demands of learning trends. Reputable e-learning providers are also placing more emphasis on better quality and certification of online courses.

This has caused a notable shift in perception from online learners being regarded as those who struggle to enter brick-and-mortar learning institutions to valuing them as modern, intrepid learners advancing themselves effectively and independently through quality learning. Today, the litany of your completed online learning courses featured on your LinkedIn profile is an indication that you are the kind of dedicated life-long learner that corporates most seek to hire.

Online learning offers unique benefits in our pressured, time-stressed lives:

  • Convenience – study where you want and when you want. You can let go of the pressures of making class times and avoid the expenses of travelling to a campus to learn.  You can take your course on Sundaymornings in your pyjamas if that is what works best for you.  You can also keep up with your studies while you travel just about anywhere in the world.
  • Pace – you choose your study time-frame. With providers such as iLearn, course deadlines are not prescribed.  This makes it far easier for you to manage the demands of your life and work, and merge them seamlessly with your educational objectives.
  • Choice – you can choose to learn about any topic. For instance, if you are being passed over as management potential and can’t access development opportunities from your company, you can develop yourself further by taking advantage of available online content; so that the next time the opportunity arises you are best positioned to achieve your career goals.
  • Affordability – the high price of a traditional tuition is often a barrier to employee development with employers limiting opportunities due to budget restraints. Quality online courses are a cost-effective solution for tighter personal or corporate budgets.
  • Unlimited potential – online courses can meet a range of needs and wants from addressing skills or knowledge deficits to improving performance or gaining entirely new skills-sets that empower you to make a career change.

“The key,” says Rayne “is to engage with a provider to make the most of these benefits of online learning.  If you are a working professional, it is also essential that your educational and career development activities fit in with your work and leisure time.  It is too easy to be overwhelmed.  You must make sure you have the flexibility you need to achieve your development goal.”

Rayne founded iLearn 15 years ago to provide memorable and measurable, internationally-benchmarked learning experiences, and today they offer a range of certified online training courses.  “Whether you are a PA or a project manager, a sales person, or an IT professional, a purchasing officer or a finance person, you can find a relevant, up-to-date online training course that is highly flexible and cost-effective,” he adds. “With online learning, there is less time out of the office.

Employees can schedule and manage their own learning in their own time and at their own pace. There are no geographical limits to accessing the modular training.  The courses are available anywhere in the world and are accessible for up to a year so that learners can repeat a course multiple times if they need or want to.”

For the life-long learner, online courses offer endless opportunity. It’s up to you to choose what, when and how you want to learn, giving you extraordinary flexibility to manage your strategies to achieve your personal and professional goals.

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Issue 92


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